Bittermens® Hellfire Habanero Shrub
We love spicy foods here at Bittermens. In fact, habaneros appear in everything from cream sauces to omelets at home. However, we have found that when people try to make spicy cocktails, much of the time the flavor falls short.
The problem as we see it isn’t the heat – it’s how the heat is incorporated into the cocktail. Infusing jalapeño peppers into tequila is perfect if you want a tequila drink. However, simply putting commercial hot sauces, sambal or sriracha into a cocktail usually throws off the cocktail’s balance.
The way that most hot sauces are made is by blending peppers with vinegar, salt and other spices. Vinegar, eh? That sure sounds like a shrub to us. Shrubs are classically refreshing fruit and vinegar-based syrups that were sweetened and diluted to make a beverage since revolutionary times. Instead of making a berry shrub or an orange shrub, why not make a hot pepper shrub?
We’ve fortified the shrub with alcohol (to better extract the flavors from the spices) and made it much more concentrated, so you only need to use drops instead of ounces to get the desired effect… which, in this case, is a good ol’ bit of heat.SKU: BFT23-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Orchard Street Celery Shrub
Though we love pickles here at Bittermens Central, we never really understood the allure of the pickleback. We like our pickles and we like our hooch. Hell, some of us have been known to have a pickled egg or two while drinking – and pickles and beer are a great combination. Just keep the pickles on the plate and the booze in the glass.
Yet, for as much as we may not understand the pickleback, during colonial times, shrubs were extremely common – vinegar-based refreshers, many times combined with alcohol or allowed to ferment so they had a bit of a kick. Maybe we’re just trying to find a way back to our cocktail roots?
Talking about roots, for those of you whose families emigrated from Eastern Europe to New York in the late 1800s or early 1900s, your ancestors probably spent some time in the immigrant tenements in the Lower East Side. Though most of the old world has been replaced by people selling cheap accessories, there is (until recently, unfortunately) Guss’ Pickles, a pickle purveyor since 1910 and Russ and Daughters – one of the last appetizing shops, who recently started to make a really tasty beet shrub.
Thinking about the Lower East Side, one of the classic flavors during the tenement era was Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda, a celery soda so popular during the ’30s, it was nicknamed the Jewish Champagne. Though the only flavor that is declared is celery seed, we always got a sense that there was a bit of ginger and apple in there somewhere.
Wrapping all of this history together, we decided to take all of these ideas and run with them. We took an idea of a brine, a shrub and a classic soda and decided to dedicate it to Orchard Street, home of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Funny that something that we made to honor the Eastern European immigrant experience works so damned well with Scandinavian Aquavit!SKU: BFT24-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters
A taste of the islands. We recommend adding a dash to libations served in shrunken heads, volcanoes and miniature ceramic Moai.These bitters were inspired by one of the new garde of Tiki legends: Brian Miller. He asked if we ever considered making Falernum, a cordial filled with the spices of the West Indies. Since we weren’t cordial makers at the time, we decided to see if it was possible to create a bitter designed with tiki cocktails in mind.
Our formulation takes into account the contributions from both the Eastern (Polynesia) and Western (Caribbean) schools of tropical cocktails.
Primary Flavors: Cinnamon and Allspice with a strong cast of supporting spice flavorsSKU: BFT25-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Scarborough Bitters
Scarborough is a unique flavor blend, focusing on botanicals traditionally found in more culinary applications but are now working their way into the cocktail world.
We love savory drinks – it doesn’t matter if we’re sipping on an aquavit giMLet, a tequila old fashioned, a sherry cobbler, or just a vermouth on the rocks, it’s the perfect foil to sweet or citrusy drinks during the summer.
The Scarborough Bitters were born out of our love of savory drinks, especially drinks with vermouth. What we figured out years ago is that when you take all of the bells and whistles out of dry vermouth, the core flavors are pretty darned close to Herbes de Provence.
Thanks to Simon and Garfunkel, we also know that if you’re heading to Scarborough Fair, there’s going to be some parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme involved. Well, rosemary and thyme are already in most Herbes de Provence blends – and the woodsy sage notes and bright-yet-bitter parsley meshes with them perfectly. To this, we add a little cinchona bark for classic bitterness as well as tartaric acid, the acid found in wine.
How do you use these bitters? Lots of ways!
Verde Mary: green tomato and tomatillo juice, tequila (or vodka) and the Scarborough bitters.
Tailored Canadian Tuxedo: 1.5 oz Canadian Club, 1 oz Amontillado Sherry, 1/4 oz Demarara Syrup, 7 drops Scarborough Bitters, Lemon Twist. (Thomas Thompson, Barrel Proof, New Orleans)
Rosé Spritz: Dry Rose, soda water, 10 drops of Scarborough Bitters, on the rocks in a large wine glass, rosemary garnish.
Improved Bamboo: 1.5 oz Amontillado Sherry, 1.5 oz Dry Vermouth, 10 drops Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate, 5 drops of Scarborough Bitters, lemon twist. Stirred and served in a coupe.
It’s also amazing in a glass of ice water or soda water for a non-alcoholic refresher, and it really wakes up a gin and tonic!SKU: BFT27-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Buckspice Ginger Bitters
We love gingerbread. Well, to be specific, we love the the sort of ginger cookies that we used to get at the Christmas markets in cities throughout Germany and Northern Europe. In Norway, these ginger cookies were called pepperkaker… or pepper cakes.
Of course, nothing can beat having access to fresh ginger juice when you’re making a cocktail – but it isn’t something that most people have laying around their kitchen, and if you do make ginger juice, it starts to lose its flavor almost immediately. By using a combination of dried gingers and alcohol, we’ve been able to create a shelf-stable ginger bitter that can bring that bite to warming winter cocktails – especially those made with rum and bourbon – yet also work beautifully in classic bucks and mules. In fact, 10 drops in a Moscow Mule turns it into something special.
Back in 2011, we added these bitters into our experimental series as the Peppercake Bitters, but stopped making them a couple of years later. We’ve tweaked the bitters to make them a little gingersnappier, and are bringing them back as our Buckspice Gingersnap Bitters.SKU: BFT28-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Winter Melon Bitters
Back in 2012, our Spanish importer asked if we could make bitters that would complement a gin and tonic that had a heavy cucumber note to it. The bitters that we came up with were amazing – bright briny cucumber notes and aroma that were supported by tart Chinese winter melon and aromatic juniper berries.
Unfortunately, these bitters were impossible to make in volume as one of the key ingredients, a hydrosol (or water distillate), was only available after the cucumber harvest and was only made in such small volumes that we couldn’t make more than a hundred cases a year.
For the past four years, we’ve been trying to find a way to reproduce the bitters without the hydrosol, but we’ve never got it to work exactly right. However, one test batch did something completely unexpected. The sourness of the winter melon came forward, the berry notes became a bit more prominent and the cucumber moved into a supporting position. The result was a bright bitterly sour blend that worked beautifully with a whole range of clear spirits.SKU: BFT29-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Boston Bittahs
A peculiar combination of citrus & chamomile. We recommend adding a dash to libations that you’d rather drink while relaxing outdoors on a warm summer night.
After the rousing success of the ‘Elemakule Tiki® Bitters, we set forth to come up with a new bitter that celebrated both the return of summer and our return to Boston after 14 years. It’s citrus, citrus, citrus and more citrus, supported with a heavy dose of chamomile. We think it smells like summer. Try it in your favorite fizz, sour or bright tropical drink. It works extremely well with pisco and scotch as well.
Primary Flavors: Citrus, Chamomile and more CitrusSKU: BFT20-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Burlesque Bitters
A spicy little tart that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. This menage of hibiscus, açai berry and long pepper is sweet, spicy and a bit of a tart. She loves performing for an international crowd, flirting with Italian amari, Mexican tequila, British gin and Caribbean rum. A perfect companion for drinks served where jazz is played and garters are de rigueur.
The Burlesque Bitters are a completely new concept for us. For the first time, we’re playing with both florals and berries – which creates a fragrant aroma and a tart sourness that plays well with a variety of spirits. Try it in a Genever Old Fashioned, a Pisco Sour or a Negroni.
Primary Flavors: Hibiscus flowers and sour berries with a hint of peppery spiceSKU: BFT21-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
The essence of grapefruit combined with the most noble of hops. We recommend adding a dash to stirred cocktails made with tequila and long drinks made with gin.When is a grapefruit not just a grapefruit?
Avid beer drinkers know that certain varieties of hops, when used in high concentration, deliver a strong grapefruit flavor. We’ve decided to use the grapefruity quality of Pacific Northwest hops along with grapefruit peel to help create a concoction with layer upon layer of vegetal bitterness. Designed to enhance young (silver) rums, tequilas and mezcal, the Hopped Grapefruit bitters play well with most cocktails where you need a little citrus punch. Try it in a daiquiri, giMLet, or even a gin and tonic (with a splash of maraschino).
Primary Flavors: Grapefruit, HopsSKU: BFT22-NV00146-XX
Bittermens® Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Our original combination of cacao, cinnamon & spice. We recommend adding a dash to libations made with dark rum, aged tequila and any other dark spirits you may encounter.
Inspired by the classic Mole sauces of Mexico, this bitter was originally designed to pair with aged tequila, but we have found that it works beautifully with aged rum, bourbon and rye as well. We’re big fans of putting a dash in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, and new classics like The Conference or the Latin Quarter just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Primary Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, SpicesSKU: BFT26-NV00146-XX